2009 Audi S5

The return of the sport coupe from Audi

2009 Audi S5

Audi has a mixed history for creating desirable coupes. Unlike, say, BMW, there really hasn’t been a regular two-door model of the A4 since it was introduced in 1994. Previous to that we got the Audi 80-based Coupe, but it was sold in North America with some pretty anemic engines and iffy reliability.

You really have to go back to the original rally god, the Coupe Quattro of the ‘80s, to find a two-door Audi with style, performance and room for four. That’s over 25 years! What took them so long? Thankfully, Audi got themselves back in the game with the new A5 and S5, taking careful aim at the aforementioned 3 Series and its variants. And since the S5 is the more sporting version, it’s the one AutoGuide readers will appreciate the most.


1. The S5 is powered by a 4.2L V8 with 354hp and 325 ft-lbs of torque.

2. Convertible versions of the A5 and S5 are due out later this year.

3. Priced at $51,400, Audi also offers the A4 for $40,700.

4. S5 models are only offered with Audi’s quattro system.

5. The optional Audi Drive Select system lets a driver chose “comfort,” “auto,” and “dynamic” modes for the throttle response, shift points and steering feel.


Speaking of appreciating, it’s hard to grasp just how pretty this design is by just staring at a few photos. With a wide stance and that big grille, in person it just looks flat-out mean. Big 19-inch wheels fill the wide arches, and that character line that runs the length of the car stops looking like a first-generation Hyundai Tiburon. At least a little.

Inside, the attention to detail is admirable. Most of the cabin bits are shared with the new A4, so there’s definite continuity there. While it feels like I’m feeding the stereotype, Audi really does make the best interiors in the business, with fantastic materials, high-quality craftsmanship and easy-to-read gauges.

Fire up the S5 and you’ll hear one of Audi’s oldest motors, albeit tweaked slightly for this new duty. The 4.2-liter V8 is related to the one in the R8 and RS4, but isn’t nearly as manic. It delivers 354hp and 325 ft-lbs of torque, while maximum power doesn’t come until 6800 rpm, so it encourages you to rev it continually. When it warms up, the six-speed manual is snick-snick sharp, and makes working the box a real joy. Give it your full attention and the S5 will do 0-60 mph in 5.0 seconds flat.


It will also do something very rare for Audis: give you genuine feedback through the meaty steering wheel, although the resistance could be increased. You can throw the S5 into corners and it’ll just figure out how to sort it out before you get into too much trouble. Other than the RS4, this is not how fast Audis normally handle. They’re more seven or eight-tenth cars, rapid and secure but not terribly thrilling. The S5 is different, and hopefully predicts a new corporate attitude for Audi’s ‘S’ lineup.

Most of the changes can be credited to the reworked chassis and altered quattro all-wheel drive system, which allowed the engine to be pushed farther back in the body, aiding in weight distribution and ultimate performance. What’s it mean to you? Probably the most fun on four wheels when the weather gets icky, along with that fantastic V8 roar.


Pricing isn’t pretty as the S5 starts at $51,400, (65,900 CDN) although it comes equipped with all the toys you’d expect, including a full leather interior (go for the ‘70s-style Magma Red!), rear parking sensors, aluminum trim, three-zone air conditioning and a Bang & Olufsen sound system.

You could get a six-speed automatic for $1,300, but why bother? You should be shifting yourself anyway. The $2,390 DVD-based Navigation system also comes with voice control and a six-disc CD changer, and the Bang & Olufsen sound system is a worthy $850. And the $2,200 Technology Package includes adaptive headlights and a rear back-up camera. New for ’09 is the Audi Drive Select, which means you can tune the suspension and steering modes to your taste, but since the normal car is so talented, really question if you need it, especially at $2,950.


The nearly as rapid 335i xDrive Coupe (what a name!) starts at nearly $10K less, and once you add all the ‘right’ packages (Sport, Audiophile and Executive), you still only get to $51,000. But the Audi is more visually arresting and just as engaging to drive. Otherwise, the S5 doesn’t have much in the way of direct competitors. The G37 S Coupe comes close, but it’s still a league away from the Audi in terms of spit and polish.

So what’s on the horizon? There are rumors of an RS5 floating around, which has us intrigued, as does the idea of the 2010 S4’s new 3.0-liter supercharged V6 making its way under hood as well, saving at least some of the world’s fuel for another day.

There’s also a convertible version (which debuted at the Geneva Auto Show) coming soon, although that’s more enticing for the salespeople than it is the enthusiasts.

For now, the S5 remains one of the most thrilling – and thirsty – rides on the road today, but might already be outgunned by its own on-the-horizon mid-life crisis.


Interior’s haptic happiness V8 engine roar Performance and handling


Somewhat cramped rear seat Sits halfway between 335i and M3 both in price and performance Expensive options

« Back

AutoGuide.com’s Monthly Overlay Newsletter Signup – By subscribing to our email newsletter, Entrants are eligible to win one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card (value of $100.00 USD). One (1) winner will be chosen every month at random and contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. *Amazon.com is not a sponsor of this promotion. Except as required by law, Amazon.com Gift Cards ("GCs") cannot be transferred for value or redeemed for cash. GCs may be used only for purchases of eligible goods at Amazon.com or certain of its affiliated websites. For complete terms and conditions, see www.amazon.com/gc-legal. GCs are issued by ACI Gift Cards, Inc., a Washington corporation. All Amazon ®, ™ & © are IP of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. No expiration date or service fees.


2. PRIZE: One (1) Winner will be randomly selected every month to each receive: one (1) $100.00 Amazon.com Gift Card (the “Prize Supplier”). Total approximate retail value of all prizes is approximately $100.00 USD. Prizes are not transferable and no cash or prize substitution is allowed. Prize package is awarded "as is" with no warranty or guarantee, either express or implied.

3. ELIGIBILITY: From the time of entry through the final date of prize fulfillment, each contest entrant and selected entrant must be a permanent lawful citizen and resident residing in the 50 United States or the District of Columbia or in Canada, and be twenty one (21) years of age or older. VOID IN PUERTO RICO, THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, IN ALL FOREIGN COUNTRIES OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES, AND ALL OTHER U.S. TERRITORIES OR CANADA AND POSSESSIONS AND WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED BY LAW. Employees, officers, directors, agents and representatives, of the Sponsor and the Prize Supplier and each of their respective parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, promotion partners and any entity involved in the development, production, implementation, administration or fulfillment of this Sweepstakes, and the immediate family members (e.g., spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, grandparent, in-law, daughter and son, regardless of where they live) and persons living in the same household (whether or not related) of such individuals are not eligible to participate or win. Only one selected entrant per household. All decisions of the Sponsor with respect to this sweepstakes are final. The Sponsor shall have the right at any time to require proof of identity and failure to provide such proof may result in disqualification from the Sweepstakes.

4. ENTER BY INTERNET: You may enter this sweepstakes via the Internet by logging onto AutoGuide.com and subscribing to our email newsletter via the pop-up overlay.

5. SELECTION OF WINNER: One (1) Entrant will be selected by random selection who have subscribed to our email newsletter. The winner may be announced publicly on AutoGuide.com and will be contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. The winner will be required to provide a mailing address (that is not a P.O. box) to receive the prize which will be shipped free of charge.

6. ODDS OF WINNING: Odds of winning a prize are determined by the total number of eligible entries received.

7. RESTRICTIONS: The prize package consists of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card with an approximate value of $100.00 USD. If prize cannot be awarded due to circumstances beyond the control of the Sponsor or Prize Supplier, no substitute prize will be awarded due to the unique nature of the prize. Sponsor and Prize Supplier shall not be liable to the winner or any person claiming through winner for failure to supply the prize or any part thereof, by reason of any acts of God, any action(s), regulation(s), order(s) or request(s) by any governmental or quasi-governmental entity (whether or not the action(s), regulations(s), order(s) or request(s) prove(s) to be invalid), equipment failure, utility failure, internet failure, terrorist acts, threatened terrorist acts, air raid, blackout, act of public enemy, earthquake, war (declared or undeclared), fire, flood, epidemic, explosion, unusually severe weather, hurricane, embargo, labor dispute or strike (whether legal or illegal) labor or material shortage, transportation interruption of any kind, work slow-down, civil disturbance, insurrection, riot, or any other cause beyond Sponsor's or Prize Supplier's control (collectively, "Force Majeure Event"). Sponsor shall not be responsible for any cancellations, delays, diversions or substitutions or any act or omissions whatsoever by the performers/events, other transportation companies or any other persons providing any of these services and accommodations to passengers including any results thereof such as changes in services or accommodations necessitated by same.

8. CONDITIONS: By entering the Sweepstakes, entrants agree to be bound by the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions and that Sponsor has the irrevocable right to use in perpetuity entrants' names, user names, likenesses, photographs, voices, home mailing address, biographical and prize information, and entry materials, without notice to entrants and without compensation or obligation, in any and all media now or hereafter known throughout the world, in any manner whatsoever, to advertise and promote Sponsor, its products and services, the Sweepstakes, and for any other purpose except where prohibited by law. Entrant waives the right to assert as a cost of winning a prize any and all costs of verification and redemption or travel to redeem said prize and any liability which might arise from redeeming or seeking to redeem said prize. Sponsor is not responsible for fraudulent calls or emails made to entrants not by the Sponsor. If the Sweepstakes is not capable of running as planned by reason of damage by computer viruses, worms or bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical limitations or failures, any Force Majeure Event or any other cause which, in the sole opinion of Sponsor, could corrupt, compromise, undermine or otherwise affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, viability or proper conduct of the Sweepstakes, Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend all or any part of the Sweepstakes, and to select a winner from among all eligible entries received by Sponsor up until the time of such cancellation, termination, modification or suspension, as applicable. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual that (i) tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operations of this Sweepstakes in any manner, (ii) violates the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions or (iii) acts in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person. CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT BY AN ENTRANT OR ANY OTHER INDIVIDUAL TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THIS SWEEPSTAKES IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK CIVIL AND/OR CRIMINAL PROSECUTION AND/OR DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. Any expenses and receipt and use of the prize and federal, state and local taxes and fees applicable in connection with the prize awarded are the sole responsibility of the winner. An IRS Form 1099 will be issued in the name of the winner for the actual value of the prize received. This Sweepstakes is subject to all federal, state and local laws of the United States. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Sponsor, Prize Supplier, and their respective officers, directors, parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries and advertising and promotion agencies, employees, representatives and agents are not responsible for and shall not be liable for (i) any injuries, losses or damages of any kind caused by a prize resulting from acceptance, possession or usage of the prize, or (ii) printing, distribution or production errors. Sponsor or its affiliates may rescind any promotion found to contain such errors without liability at its or their sole discretion.

9. SPONSOR: The Sponsor of this contest is VerticalScope Inc. (the owner and operator of AutoGuide.com), 111 Peter Street, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2H1.

Subscribe to our email newsletter and automatically be entered to win.
*Restrictions apply. See offer for details

Get Breaking Automotive News, Reviews and Video in your Facebook Feed!

Already Liked